I recently heard Carey Nieuwhof (Pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community (The Orange Series) (a book I hope to review on this site.) frame the nature of most families conversations around God in an interesting analogy. He compared the way parents/children, brothers/sisters, even husbands/wives talk about God to “fine china”.
I remember vividly the times in our home growing up when my mom brought out the fine china. It was an event full of ceremony and fanfare. They were in a special cabinet and when they came out, immediately, everyone was on edge and felt the need to be a bit more formal. They came with a set of expectations about how to act. We would carefully and anxiously eat our meal, doing our best to maintain good posture and proper manners. Of course, they had to be carefully hand washed, dried, and put away to be brought out again a year later.
In comparison, everyday dishes are a normal part of life. Sure, sometimes they are ignored in place of the ease of paper plates, but for the most part they are a part of every meal, every conversation, every day. Even though they are just as fragile as the other dishes, we aren’t afraid to use them and take the risk of allowing them to interact with our daily lives.
I’m curious – in your family, do spiritual conversations feel like pulling out the fine china? Does everyone instantly become anxious, nervous, and a bit more formal? What would it take to move the conversations around God and life out of the special cabinet and into the daily rhythm of your day?
I’ve often wondered why it’s easy for me to pray with friends and strangers, but difficult to go before the Creator with my wife? Or why in our families these conversations can feel, well…awkward.
Hopefully this blog will provide us with resources and space to consider how in our homes, we can treat God less like fine china and more like the everyday dishes. God wants to be a part of our everyday life. He wants to show up all the time. He doesn’t require the ceremony and fanfare we often feel the need to conjure up. In fact, God is present in our every day moments, maybe we just need to begin to acknowledge Him.
Feel free to interact with these thoughts in the comments below.